This week the Institute of Directors (IoD) released a report calling on the public sector to have an ‘open partnership’ with business to enable ministers to ‘deliver the high quality digital services that citizens expect’. The 30,000 member organisation (supported by techUK member Atos) warned in the report that Whitehall does not currently make adequate use of private sector expertise, and that better use of data is needed to make services more productive.
The IoD report reflects techUK’s Smarter Services: Delivering the Next Wave of Digital Transformation in the Public Sector recommendations calling for digital skills and data sharing to be key components to public service transformation. These recommendations draw on the findings from techUK’s Civil Servants Survey 2017 of over 940 civil servants from all grades and across the country. The survey shows that there is a lot of good work being done on public service transformation and most civil servants (79 per cent) agree that there is an appetite amongst citizens for conducting more interactions with Government online. However, a shortage of skills and capabilities is regarded as the largest barrier to tech adoption in Government; 57 per cent of respondents saw it as a problem, an increase on last year.
Public Sector Innovation
During last year’s SME Campaign Week on government transformation techUK sought to raise awareness of the fundamental role innovative GovTech SMEs have in the transformation of public services. As demonstrated by techUK’s 2017 SME Survey, the Government is on the right track to make it easier for innovative GovTech SMEs to supply to government with a majority of respondents viewing frameworks such as G-cloud as being useful for SMEs to access the public sector market. However, 95 per cent stated that government should be doing more to improve the experiences of SMEs as part of the supply chain.
Rob Driver, Head of Public Sector at techUK commented:
“It is clear from the views of business leaders, civil servants and GovTech SMEs that there is an urgent need to improve engagement between the tech industry and government to expose civil servants to the innovative technology that’s available in the fast moving UK market. There are pockets of strong engagement with the tech industry across the public sector, but there is still much room for improvement.”
“The public sector has come a long way in a short amount of time and deserves its place amongst the World’s most innovative. However, to successfully deliver end-to-end transformation Government needs to both embrace new technologies and new ways of delivering services that ‘Digital’ makes possible. To ensure the Government has access to the best innovative technologies, techUK will be building on the strong relationships we already have with central and local government to deliver a range of market engagement events in 2018.”